October 14, 2021 6:37:01 pm
There is nothing new about the widely startled eyes of characters who have come nose to nose with a scary-looking ghost or watched paranormal tricks played by a vengeful spirit. We have seen it all, over and over again. If not in the Aranmanai franchise, then in the Kanchana series or hundreds of other horror movies from around the world. For years, we have been subjected to all kinds of jump scares. If one continues to react to overused scare tactics, it doesn’t mean the director has managed to succeed. It is just in human nature to shudder when something ugly or frightening pops up in front of us. Any 10-year-old with a ghost mask can do it. Then, what’s the point of a director with over 30 years of experience to spend a fortune on a movie to achieve the same effect?
There is nothing novel about Aranmanai 3. At the heart of the story is a huge palace with a dark history. And somewhere in the corner of this palace, there is a locked room. Many haunting secrets remain buried as long as the room is locked. But, once it’s open, it unleashes a dark force, which is almost impossible to contain. Does the synopsis sound familiar? It is because Sundar C, who has written, directed and acted in this film, draws heavily from Chandramukhi, which was the remake of Malayalam hit Manichitrathazhu. Instead of “Raa Raa” song, which is a woman’s yearning to meet her lover, we get “Sengaandhale”, a mother’s lullaby, emerging from a room, which has now become a den of supernatural forces.
The only difference is Sundar C’s Ravi, who unlike Rajinikanth’s Dr Saravanan, has no discernable talents to deal with forces beyond his ken. He can’t read minds like Saravanan. He doesn’t seem to have the intelligence and aptitude to outsmart ghosts. But, for all his shortcomings, he is the only saviour we get in this film. Arya’s Saravanan, meanwhile, is just used as eye candy. Except for flexing his biceps over and over again, Arya doesn’t get to do much in this film. The same fate is meted out to other actors. Not one actor among the cast of Raashi Khanna, Vivek, Yogi Babu, Andrea Jeremiah and Sampath Raj has a meaningful role to play in what could be safely termed as the dumbest film of the year yet.
In a scene, Raashi Khanna’s Jyothi escapes an assassination attempt by a ghost. Usually, a person who has just been attacked by a dark force will be in a state of shock. But, she goes back to bed for a good night’s sleep as if nothing has happened. The next time she shows any concern for the dark entity is when it comes to haunt her again. All characters stay up all night playing hide and seek in full makeup and heavy jewellery, but not one person can be found when the ghost is chasing a small kid. And these complaints don’t even make 10 percent of the film’s whole problem.
It is hard to believe that Aranmanai 3 comes from the mind of a director who made Anbe Sivam. “I faced more disadvantages than advantages after doing Anbe Sivam. I did that film with all my heart. But, because of that film, I had to sit at home (without work) for almost a year. When people see me now, they ask me why I am not doing a film like that any longer. And when I hear that, it makes me angry, not happy. I feel like asking them where they were when they were needed. Now people watch the film on DVD and the internet and appreciate it. But, if they had supported this film when it was released, I would have had the motivation to do more films like that,” Sundar C had said on a television show earlier.
We get the films we deserve. When we fail to appreciate Anbe Sivam, Aranmanai 3 is what we get.
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